We the People Act(HR 3893 IH)March 4, 2004 To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes. Mr. PAUL (for himself and Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland) introduced the bill in the 108th Congress and needs to be introduced in the 109th Congress.

Saturday, December 4

Justice Curtis explains how to determine when the Federal Courts are wrong

"[W]hen a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under the government of individual men, who for the time being have power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of what it ought tomean." - Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 621 (1857) (Curtis, J., dissenting).

Thomas Jefferson on the text of the Constitution
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)

Citizens guide to the text of Constitution
"The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary, as distinguished from technical meaning; where the intention is clear, there is no room for construction, and no excuse for interpolation or addition." - Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat 304; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat 419; Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat 419; Craig v. Missouri, 4 Pet 10; Tennessee v. Whitworth, 117 U.S. 139; Lake County v. Rollins, 130 U.S. 662; Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1; Edwards v. Cuba R. Co., 268 U.S. 628; The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655; (Justice) Story on the Constitution, 5th ed., Sec 451; Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 2nd ed., p. 61, 70.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

, in a speech before The Catholic University of America, advocates literal interpretation of the Constitution, declaring "[t]he words are the law." Scalia says, "the Constitution means what it ought to mean...October 18, 1996 speech.
I belong to a school, a small but hardy school, called "textualists" or "originalists." That used to be "constitutional orthodoxy" in the United States. The theory of originalism treats a constitution like a statute, and gives it the meaning that its words were understood to bear at the time they were promulgated. You will sometimes hear it described as the theory of original intent. You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don't care about the intent, and I don't care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words. I take the words as they were promulgated to the people of the United States, and what is the fairly understood meaning of those words.

I do the same with statutes, by the way, which is why I don't use legislative history. The words are the law. I think that's what is meant by a government of laws, not of men. We are bound not by the intent of our legislators, but by the laws which they enacted, which are set forth in words, of course. As I say, until recently this was constitutional orthodoxy. Everyone at least said that: That the Constitution was that anchor, that rock, that unchanging institution that forms the American polity. Immutability was regarded as its characteristic. What it meant when it was adopted it means today, and its meaning doesn't change just because we think that meaning is no longer adequate to our times. If it's inadequate, we can amend it. That's why there's an amendment provision. That was constitutional orthodoxy. When I say constitutional orthodoxy, I don't mean its just judges and lawyers. Judges and lawyers are not very important. It's ultimately the American people. What do they think this document is?

This is not, I caution you, a liberal versus conservative issue. Conservatives are fully as prepared to create new rights under this evolutionist theory of the Constitution, as liberals are. Court TV Library: Supreme Court -- Antonin Scalia Speech, October ...



Clarence Thomas

, Be Not Afraid, 2001 Francis Boyer Lecture, American Enterprise Institute, Annual Dinner (Washington, D.C.) Publication Date: February 13, 2001

When deciding cases, a judge’s race, sex, and religion are not relevant. A judge is not a legislator, for whom it is entirely appropriate to consider personal and group interests. The ideal of justice is to be blind to such things.


When struggling to find the right answer to a case, judges should adopt principles of interpretation and methods of analysis that reduce judicial discretion. Reducing discretion is the key to fostering judicial impartiality.


The greater the room for judicial discretion, the greater the temptation to write one’s personal opinions into the law. This is especially important at the Supreme Court, where many of the usual limitations on judicial discretion, such as authority from a superior court or stare decisis, either do not exist, or do not exist with the same strength as with other courts. Hence, other doctrines and principles designed to narrow discretion and to bolster impartiality assume greater significance for the Court.


When interpreting the Constitution and statutes, judges should seek the original understanding of the provision’s text, if the meaning of that text is not readily apparent.


First, by tethering their analysis to the understanding of those who drafted and ratified the text, modern judges are prevented from substituting their own preferences for the Constitution.


Second, it places the authority for creating the legal rules in the hands of the people and their representatives, rather than in the hands of the judiciary. The Constitution means what the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention and of the state ratifying conventions understood it to mean; not what we judges think it should mean.


Third, this approach recognizes the basic principle of a written Constitution. "We the people" adopted a written Constitution precisely because it has a fixed meaning, a meaning that does not change. Otherwise we would have adopted the British approach of an unwritten, evolving constitution. Aside from amendment according to Article V, the Constitution’s meaning cannot be updated, or changed, or altered by the Supreme Court, the Congress, or the President.


Another principle of self-restraint derives from the nature of the legal analysis we employ. It is always tempting to adopt balancing tests, or to rest one’s decision on the presence of several factors. Judges can then say that they decided the case on its facts, thereby preserving some degree of flexibility for the next case. While this may be appropriate for trial courts, or for state courts, it is seldom the best approach for the Supreme Court or a federal appellate court. Whenever possible, the Court and judges generally should adopt clear, bright-line rules that, as I like to say to my law clerks, you can explain to the gas station attendant as easily as to a law professor.


Rules not only provide private parties with notice, but also limit judicial discretion by narrowing the ability of judges in the future to alter the law to fit their policy preferences. Broader rules are more likely to be impartial as to how they affect specific parties. Thus, clear rules—along with life tenure and an irreducible salary—encourage judges to maintain their impartiality.


A judge who strictly adheres to the rules of impartiality and judicial restraint is likely to reach sound conclusions. But as I’ve said, reaching the correct decision itself is only half the battle. Having the courage of your convictions can be the harder part. - AEI - News & Commentary



Honorable John N. Hostettler, a Representative in Congress From the State of Indiana Thursday, June 24, 2004, - House of Representatives,Subcommittee on the Constitution,Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC. - Limiting Federal Court Jurisdiction To Protect Marriage For The States

"Mr. Chairman, as a nonlawyer, I count it a high privilege to serve as a Member of this Subcommittee. However, as a student of the United States Constitution, I would not be truthful if I said that I have always understood as perceived by this nonlawyer to be a disconnect between the plain wording and construction of the Constitution and the opinions handed down by the Federal judiciary as, quote, "''constitutional,''" end quote. But this perceived disconnect was explained to me with such clarity by, and rightfully so, a lawyer when I read the testimony of Dr. Leo Graglia, before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, of May 15, 1997. Dr. Graglia, who is the A. Dalton Cross Professor of Law at the University of Texas law school, profoundly observed that, quote, "''the first and most important thing to know about constitutional law is that it has virtually nothing to do with the Constitution,''" end quote. At that point, the scales fell from my eyes, and I realized that I cannot confuse what is taught in our Nation's law schools and what is expounded by so-called constitutional scholars on the 24-hour news talk shows with the work of folks like Madison, Hamilton, Jay, and Washington, and others at Philadelphia in 1787, or for that matter the first Congress in 1789 or the 39th Congress in 1866."

{ When all else fails, read and follow the directions in the Constitution.}


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